Who uses Business Analysis Skills and what is Business Analysis? IIBA® (International Institute of Business Analysis)™ defines the discipline of business analysis as “the practice of enabling change in an enterprise by defining business needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders.” The definition describes work which could be performed by almost any employee in an organization. Anytime an employee puts an idea in the suggestion box, it is possible they analyzed a need and are recommending a solution.
BAs love Requirements Management Tools!
I love requirements management tools and wish all business analysts had access to them. Requirements management tools allow you to create requirements in a structured, organized fashion, consistent with other projects which leads to better stakeholder communication, better analysis and better products. More importantly, being able to reuse requirements increases productivity significantly. Unfortunately few analysts have access to these tools. They are expensive, fairly complex to learn, and don’t always easily integrate with other tools used in an organization. But that may be changing! DevOps is gaining acceptance and requires software development technology including requirements management tools which are integrated with other application life cycle management (ALM) tools because requirements are a critical part of the DevOps process.
I was recently asked by one of our customers to facilitate a requirements elicitation session on a change to an existing system. The software functionality is fairly simple so the group scheduled an hour session and just wanted an experienced facilitator to help lead the discussion. The session was already scheduled when I was asked to participate so I didn’t have much time to prepare but I did talk with a few of the stakeholders to get some background before the session. One of the business people wrote up a current state description which was very helpful in outlining the discussion. As I did some last minute preparations the night before and discussed the session with a colleague we realized that the customer had not really articulated why they had initiated this project.
In the United States (and I am sure other countries), we hear lots of complaints about the cost of regulations. This is especially true during a presidential election year. The paradox of regulatory complaints is that some candidates argue complying with regulations is too costly, while others argue that the cost of not having enough regulations risks the safety of our community. Regulatory costs (or the costs of lax regulation) are not just monetary but also environmental, societal and can result in a degradation of our values and way of life (e.g. lead in our water system). I would like to suggest that more analysis would help curb the costs of regulation.
PMI-PBA® Domain: Analysis. The third in a series of posts about the creation of our PMI-PBA Exam Prep study guide. (The first domain is Needs Assessment and the second is Planning.) PMI calls the third domain Analysis, but it is more appropriately named Elicitation and Analysis because it includes both topics. Elicitation is the asking of questions and research needed to discover requirements. Analysis means to break down a whole into its components for study. So this domain includes the communications necessary to learn about the business and its requirements, along with the analysis work needed to break down the requirements and really understand the needed solution. All aspects of business analysis are important, but if you had to name the core of it all, this is it: Elicitation and Analysis.
The second excerpt from our upcoming study guide PMI-PBA Domain: PlanningThis is the second in a series of posts about the creation of our PMI-PBA Exam Prep study guide. In my first post I talked about the Needs Assessment Domain http://360.rmcls.com/domain-needs-assessment/ and this post will highlight Business Analysis Planning. The PMI-PBA (Professional in Business Analysis) designation recognizes professionals who have experience and knowledge performing business analysis work. Business Analysis work is performed by people with many different titles and this is especially true in studying the Planning Domain. Project Managers recognize the critical importance of planning in project success. PMs have expertise in thinking ahead about how their projects will best be accomplished. They often consult with experts and known project team members to develop their plans and assess risks. This strategy of distributed planning is supported by the PMI-PBA Domain called Planning (and referred to as Business Analysis Planning…
A bridge between two detailed standards
One of the reasons I haven’t yet finished my PMI-PBA Certification study guide is that I wanted to make sure I was in alignment with PMI’s Requirements Management: A Practice Guide (see my blogs series on the development of my study guide http://360.rmcls.com/domain-needs-assessment/ ). For those of you who may have gone on holiday early, PMI published its new practice guide in December. At the date of this post it is still free to download so I suggest you get a copy now: http://www.pmi.org/learning/business-analysis-requirements-management.aspx
I have started work on our PMI-PBA® Exam Prep study guide! Writing an exam prep book is a big undertaking and always a little daunting. I know many potential exam takers are anxious for a resource to use for their preparation, and I am looking forward to providing it. Until then, I thought I would post excerpts as I develop the content for each domain. This will give you some previews of our study approach and give you an opportunity to share feedback in anticipation of the entire book being published.The first Domain: Needs Assessment, so that’s where we’ll start. Needs Assessment is often the domain that’s most difficult for exam takers because it’s the one where people have the least amount of experience. Here’s some more information from the first draft of the book.